Regarding the weeks ahead, “anticipation” is the word of the day. And this can do helpful things or not so helpful things, depending. It will be useful to juxtapose it with two other words, “appreciation” and “attention.”

Whatever it is we are anticipating, anything from Sunday dessert to the feast of Christmas, our experiences of the present time, the “meanwhile,” is critical. Poorly handled, anticipation can rob us of the present—the seeming dullness of what is can barely be tolerated in the face of what is to come. Well handled, however, anticipation can be the perfect seasoning, assisting us to appreciate the ordinary variability of things, the possibility incipient in each day. This requires a very intentional attention to what is right in front of us, which in turn changes the shape of anticipation.

No anticipated external events or the lack of them are the determinative key to which facet of anticipation we experience, but rather what is going on in our own insides. Anticipation turns out to be an apt barometer of the health of our souls, and whatever facet of it is most in evidence is a good diagnostic tool.

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